5 Questions with FOX analyst Troy Aikman

BY foxsports • December 10, 2009

Every week, John Czarnecki hits the hot league topics by interviewing one of our NFL on FOX game analysts.

  • This week's guest: Troy Aikman

    1. Tom Brady called out his teammates and himself this week. Is this what a franchise quarterback should do?

    Tom Brady has earned the right to say whatever he wants to say. So, I don't take exception to what he said at all. A quarterback needs to say, and do, what he feels is necessary to get the most out of the people around him. And sometimes that requires saying things that don't always want to be heard.

    What's surprising to me though is that he felt a need to say something. When I played and Jimmy Johnson was our coach, I never felt the need to address teammates like that publicly. I knew Jimmy was handling that. In fact, I'd be the guy assuring everyone that we would be fine.

    The fact that Tom felt compelled to say something to the media makes me wonder what is happening at the top. Maybe it's nothing. We do need to remind ourselves that this is not the same Patriots team that won three Super Bowls. It's a different group of players, young players, that need to find their way. It's been an inconsistent year for the Patriots and we're seeing a frustrated quarterback that knows more is required to win like they expect.

    2. Should we be prepared for another Brett Favre slide in December based on that loss in Arizona?

    This is a guy who for 18 seasons has averaged 17 interceptions a year. Even after his two interceptions against Arizona last Sunday night, which gives him five interceptions on the season, he is still well below his average for his past 18 seasons.

    To me, the longer Favre goes without having a three or four interception day, the more concerned I would be if I was the Minnesota Vikings (laughing). It could very well happen to him when he gets into the postseason and that would be a real shame.

    But the Cardinals are a good team. They're better than they were a year ago, so I don't put much weight into that loss for the Vikings. As for Favre, he is still playing at an amazing level, and most importantly he's healthier than he was a year ago.

    3. Huge game in Dallas on Sunday. How do you size up the Chargers vs. Cowboys?

    Troy: It's going to be a heck of a game. The Chargers are playing as well as any team and Philip Rivers, in any other year, would be considered for league MVP.

    This game also has some great storylines. Remember, Norv Turner was considered for the Dallas job and didn't get it. The Cowboys ended up hiring Wade Phillips who had been the defensive coordinator in San Diego. It turned out fine for Norv because a few weeks later Marty Schottenheimer was fired in San Diego and Norv got the Chargers' job. So, this game has some intrigue beyond both teams simply looking to win a game.

    Much has been made of the Cowboys' late-season struggles in recent years and their loss at the Meadowlands last Sunday doesn't dispel those discussions. It is what it is, but who really cares if the franchise hasn't had a winning December since 1996? These players only care about THIS year. Having said that, there undoubtedly is mounting pressure on both Wade Phillips and Tony Romo to win in December and January.

    I don't see either defense having much success slowing down the opposing offense. If you like big plays and a lot of offense, you're in for a real treat come Sunday afternoon.

    4. Did we all over-estimate the quality of the NFC East teams before the season began?

    Going into this season, I felt the team that would represent the NFC in the Super Bowl would come out of the NFC East. And I didn't necessarily feel it would be the team that won the East.

    However, as you can imagine, the New Orleans Saints have sure gotten my attention. If they secure home-field advantage, which it looks like they'll do, I don't see anybody beating them at home.

    The Superdome is a difficult place to play for opposing teams. I know. My first NFL start as a rookie took place there and it was a whippin'. I've also played there when the Saints weren't a very good team and they blistered us pretty good then, too. Imagine how difficult it is when the Saints are a great team! Every playoff team enjoys a home-field advantage but nothing like the Saints do.

    Having said that, and as crazy as the East has been, you have to respect both the Giants and Eagles. These are two battle-tested teams when it comes to playing good football this time of the year and knowing what it takes to win in January. I wouldn't count either of them out just yet. Yes, Dallas currently leads the division, but until they prove themselves in January, they're not looked upon in the same way as the Giants or Eagles. The Eagles are probably the best team to challenge the Saints or the Vikings in the playoffs. I still believe, however, that nobody beats the Saints if they get home-field advantage.

    5. Jason Campbell has played well lately. Should the Redskins keep him or continue to try to trade him?

    I like Jason Campbell and I know I'm in the minority when I say that, and that's OK.

    I do, however, have a couple concerns about him. In light of everything that has gone on in Washington, I don't know how he has remained so calm and not lost his temper. I know I would have erupted long ago. In light of the circus that has been going on there for the last few years, how does he roll along seemingly unaffected by such a dysfunctional organization? That's a concern. There has also been too many times with the game on the line when he has not come through for his team.

    Having said that, I do like him as a quarterback. It is difficult to fairly evaluate him with all that has happened in Washington with the coaching staff, changes in play callers, etc. I don't know too many quarterbacks who could be put in that situation and play well. I believe he can win a lot of games in this league if given the right people around him and a staff that believes in him.

    Can you win a Super Bowl with him? I don't know. I think you're always asking that question until someone goes out and wins one. I will stay this about Jason. He works extremely hard and the game is very important to him. He's the first one in the building and the last one to leave. He has a good arm and he stands tall in the pocket and throws well and moves well.

    Sometimes, however, the best thing for any athlete is to go elsewhere and get a fresh start.

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